Is China Changeable?

This is a series of articles on education in Shanghai (I tried to avoid big topics like Education in China:

Worry about Yifan’s Education and

Worry about Yifan’s Education – Part II
Is China Changeable?

Chinese or International Eduction?

University Education = Hukou in China

Schools Conducted by Gaokao

Hijacked Education by Scientists

>谁也改变不了中国的这一现实 (Whoever cannot change the reality of China)

This is the reason why China will not change. Wang Jianshuo, you have this attitude too.

Posted by: Micah (external link) on May 18, 2009 10:06 AM

I appreciate Micah’s honesty in expressing that I also have the “China will not change, and cannot be changed” attitude. Obviously, I don’t have that attitude.

To further argue on that part, let me explain why by first addressing the question: Is China changeable, or is China NOT changeable?

The Answer is Obvious

If you generalize that question, and ask in the way I asked: “Is China changeable?”, the answer will be widely accepted as “Yes. Surely China can change”. Those visitors who visited China 30 years ago, 20 years ago, and 10 years ago surely would agree that China will change – huge change.

However, if you dig into details of the change, you may further find few areas:

  • Can China’s appearance change? Sure!
  • Will the culture change? Sure! Look at the younger generation in big cities.
  • Will the economy status change? Absolutely. What do you think the economic reform is about?
  • Will the political system change? No any sign for the change yet, but considering everything else, it SHOULD be change, in near future.
  • Will the educational system change? It had changed a little, but still not as far as we expected.
  • Will the few famous bad behaviors of Chinese people change, like spitting, or jay walking? No obvious sign to change yet, but it is much better than 10 years ago.

In any way, from any perspective, and in all standard, China IS changing, if you put China into a scale of 30 years.

However, it is NOT as fast as expected

Considering the last 30 years, even the last 100-200 years, China changed a lot. However, just because China had closed its door too long, and it is too far away from the international world, today, there are still many things that people don’t understand – some of which, I agree that China should go one step further to join the international community, but most of them, it is the international community who need to accept China.

People have the feeling that China don’t change partly because, China does not change as fast as they want, despite that China already changed a lot.

Taking the bad behavior #1, spitting, as an example. It takes time. Although we can try all effort to make it better, it takes time. That is what my article Beer Can by the Highway vs Spitting is all about. It WILL change, but it takes time. So does the education system I talked about in my previous two articles about Yifan.

Parents’ Choice in the Current Situation

There are always long term goals and short term goals for any one. To change the educational system and further, to change the whole society to make it better for the next few generation is surely something we should do in long term. Why I am writing this blog? To foster communication between people inside and outside China, and to make a positive change to both.

For Chinese, to bring more people from other countries (who can communicate in English, no matter where they are) to discuss topics of China give us fresh ideas (where you want to post your comment about Chinese education system besides this blog?)

For non-Chinese, this blog provides an opportunity to understand China’s problem better, and at least start to think about China problems in a slightly different angle.

Besides this blog, there are many different things I am doing to help to make the long term change, including speak on TV, go to more than 20 universities so far to deliver speech, to have a small fund in university (although paused for a long time), and to evangelize democracies whenever I can… Yes. Everyone is trying to make a difference.

The challenge is, regarding the short term goal – for Yifan to have a nice future, the long term goal does not fit.

Is it Brave or Not to Find a Solution?

Nothing symbolizes individual’s fight with bigger system as well as Jew’s fight in the World War II. I just visited the Jewish Community in Shanghai where 30K+ Jewish people flee to Shanghai during the World War II, and survived in Shanghai. Are they coward, or hero? By theory, to stand up against Nazi, and die before them are more politically right, but no one, I mean no one, can point fingers to them and say, dye is your best choice. That is the long term and short term approach.

One of the comment in the previous article reads: “it (if) got you where you are today, no reason why yf (Yifan) can’t do the same!” I don’t believe so. It is as crucial as if there is you survived from the war, why you son cannot do the same? Send him to the war field, and then pray. If I have a chance, I mean, if I do have a choice, I will never choose the same thing.

I may continue the discussion about my dilemma in education in the next few articles. I said dilemma, not my choice, since I don’t have a choice yet – it is so hard to choose

9 Comments

  1. i found this at the bottom of Micah’s blog:

    奥巴马说:Change! 胡总书记说:别折腾

    Obama said: Change! Hu said: Bu Zhe Teng! (avoid futile actions)

  2. I didn’t read your long posting above as I don’t want it to affect my comment about China and it’s changes.

    My ancestors are from China, so I heard about China since when I was a little boy till now that I have seen it my self. My opinion about China is that it has changed too fast. Some of my reasons below:

    1. Previously China seems to practiced closed door. But now it has open its door to foreign countries, ecconomically.

    2. Chinese people’s attitude although invidually never changed (especially the older group), but the younger generation has changed. They don’t spit, cough out flams and speak loudly at public area.

    3.In term of development, China now has lots of high buildings. They even have doors now for Public Toilets !!

    4. China is much beautiful and it’s people are now richer. perhaps I would say they turn rich ‘overnight’ because of their vast develpment…generally.

    And Yifan’s case has nothing to do with China. Perhaps to be more specific, it’s the same problem or dillema all over the world. Perhaps it’s just the chinese attitude or character including oversea chinese every where, including Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and Canada etc. Chinese strive to have the best for their kid’s education and to be No. 1. That’s is our born and natural attitude. That’s is why we have Chinese all over the world, even a Chinese village in every country. That’s because we are trying to earn a living just anywhere and to have the best for the family. We always want our children to have the best and not less than what we use to have. We’ll survive anywhere. And we should be proud of it being a Chinese in this world ! And we’ll continue to decide the best for our kids by any means.

  3. Typical chinese instrospective thinking and self-criticism!

    It is not that China has not changed enough. It is that quasi american-ization that has failed:

    — millions of kids who have to say goodbye to their childhood and throw themselves into the adult-style dog fight;

    — millions of students who have to pay dearly for their degrees/diplomas at an annual cost several times of an average household income;

    — millions of college graduates who cannot find jobs with minimal pay to even recoup their education expenditure;

    — millions of patients who have to skip seeking medical help due to exorbitant medical bills;

    — millions of uban young couples who cannot afford a roof over their head, let alone start a family;

    — millions of farm laborers, assembly workers, white-collar employees who have been thrown onto the streets while the companies are still making money and CEO/CFO/COO/CIO/CTO/C-level executives are pocketing millions if not hundreds of millions.

    Instead of blaming itself, China should exhibit outward thinking, FIRE its quasi-teacher, America and reverse-engineer its economic, social and cultural development model.

  4. I don’t mean to be rude. But think about it.. Which country do they have students carrying

    guns and weapons to schools, college and universities and shoot ? Read the news paper or google it and tell us ! Is this what you call developed, progress and changed ?

    Now tell us Wangjianshou, what do you think ? It has to be a dialoque instead of a monoloque if you want to exchange views and opinion.

    Regards and Warm Greetings

  5. When you play games, you really thought about the Department of your equipment well enough, your account than others, your gold enough … There are better! What you want to have here.come on..Let’s go!

  6. 没有啥是不能改变的,只是要看时机、策略、技巧,还有时间,很多很多……

  7. Changes, in the citizen level, will probably happen quite quick in China. They are able to introduce all sorts of tough measures to stop people from spitting, littering and jaywalking. But with this one-party tyranny, don’t expect any real change in greater scheme of things anytime soon.

    I live in a poorer area in London (near the 2012 Olympic site), where spitting and littering are huge problems too. The local councils tried to use some tougher measures, like using CCTV to catch litter-droppers and people who let dogs foul on streets. That’s what I think they should be doing, however, you just get these human-rights activists constantly moaning and whining about how this use of CCTV is inappropriate etc. etc. So, this will forever be a problem here until those activists start getting a life and look at bigger pictures, like what’s happening in Burma, China, Guantanamo etc. etc. I wish the local council here had the guts of some local governments in China.

    Olympics will be here in a few years and I guarantee it’s gonna be an embarassment if they don’t start introducing tougher measure to stop these animals from doing what they are doing now.

  8. Nice, thanks for this!

  9. I am glad to talk with you and you give me great help! Thanks for that,I am wonderring if I can contact you via email when I meet problems.

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